Want to improve your writing productivity? Struggling to organize and plan your book and think a good book planner will help?
Writing a book is a bit like going to war. It takes blood, sweat, and tears, often over the course of years to finish writing a book.
And when going to war, it's important to spend time planning for battle. As Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”
But how do you plan? What makes a good plan to write a book? And are there any materials that can help make it easier?
Good news: there are now plenty of practical and user-friendly planners, both physical and digital, specifically tailored for the needs of writers.
In this article, we’ve listed some of our favorite book planners, both physical and digital, created with authors and writers in mind so you can create a strong plan for your book that you can actually finish.
Top 5 Physical Book Planners
First, let's start with the physical planners that you can actually hold, write in, and have sitting next to you while you write your masterpiece.
1. The Write Plan Planner by The Write Practice
Yes, we're biased, but our favorite planner is ours.
The Write Plan planner takes everything we've learned from helping thousands of writers finish their books and get published and combines it into a beautifully designed, extremely helpful daily planner.
Our hardcover 6.25 in x 9.25 inch planner features
- book planning pages, weekly planner goal sheets and daily pages
- Lay-flat smyth sewn durable binding with a ribbon bookmark
All of it designed to keep your to do lists, story structure, character work, and writing goals all in one place. If you have a busy schedule, this planner will help you keep your writing life organized and your book moving forward.
Cost: $39 (free shipping in the U.S.)
2. 52 Weeks of Writing: Author Journal and Planner by Mariëlle S. Smith
52 Weeks of Writing is designed to help writers develop a sustainable writing practice by planning, tracking, reflecting on, and improving their progress and goals over an entire year.
It includes weekly thought-provoking quotes and prompts to keep writers writing and encourages them to unravel the truth about why they are not where they want to be.
Written by writing coach and author Mariëlle S. Smith, the journal is designed to help writers honor their own needs and desires and become the writer they were meant to be. It has dozens of five-star reviews and is available in paperback, eBook, and printable PDF formats. Volume II of the journal is also available.
3. Your Words Count: A Writing and Editing Planner to Help You Finish Your Book by Lacey Impellizeri
It can be used at any time during the writing process and includes sections for character creation, story outlining, weekly reflection, and marketing and publishing advice—a good, grounded guide for aspiring authors.
4. Writer´s Workbook: A Personal Planner with Tips, Checklists and Guidelines by Tanja Hanika
It provides clear guidelines, checklists, and planning structures for character development, plot structure, and marketing plans. There are also resources and instructions to use plot devices, narrative styles, and write a plot synopsis.
5. The Ultimate Author Planner by Author Blueprints
“The Ultimate Author Planner” is a 130+ page set of printable plans designed to help writers through every step of the writing, publishing, and marketing process, whether they are beginners or experienced authors.
The planner guides authors through planning, writing, editing, publishing, sending their work to agents, and marketing their work. It includes features like daily planners, monthly goals, yearly goals, income and expense trackers, story idea prompts, character and plot development tools, and publishing and marketing checklists.
While it's not a physical book, you pay for the PDFs and print them out as you need them.
Top 5 Digital Book Planners
Next up are our favorite digital book planners: software tools that allow you to create comprehensive plans and sometimes even help you write your book.
Scrivener is our favorite writing tool, and while it's mostly used as a word processor designed specifically for writing books, it also includes planning features like outlining, research, and note-taking. It's especially useful for writers who prefer a more structured approach to planning their stories.
Scapple is a mind-mapping tool designed by the creators of Scrivener that allows writers to brainstorm and organize their ideas visually sort of like a digital whiteboard. It's perfect for writers who prefer a more free-form approach to planning out their stories.
Dabble is our second-favorite writing tool behind Scrivener (and it's close!), a cloud-based writing software that includes planning tools like a timeline, storyboard, and character sheets. It's designed to help writers stay organized and focused on their writing goals. We like to think of it as “Scrivener Lite” because of it's similarity to Scrivener but with a simpler interface.
Campfire is a story planning software that includes features like character sheets, world-building tools, and timelines to help writers plan out their stories in detail.
Plottr is a story planning software that allows writers to create visual timelines, story arcs, and character profiles. It's perfect for writers who prefer a more visual approach to planning out their stories.
5. Aeon Timeline
Aeon Timeline is a timeline software that allows writers to plan out the events of their stories in detail. It includes features like date and time ranges, relationships between events, and custom metadata to help writers keep track of all the details of their stories.
Plan Your Best Book, Faster
No plan is perfect. But by spending time planning, you can ensure that you actually finish the book your working on.
However, the most important thing is to write your book. So grab one of these planners (or several), but don't let it distract you from writing your book.
And if you want to learn more about write a book, check out one of our guides here:
Good luck, and happy writing!
Do you use any of these planners? Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
For today's practice, write a scene where a character's plan goes catastrophically amiss. Set the timer for fifteen minutes and write.
When finished, share your plan-gone-wrong scene in the Pro Practice Workshop here (if you’re not a member yet, you can join here). And leave feedback for a few other writers too. Good luck and have fun as you write!